There are hundreds of LED lighting companies throughout Australia. Many offer compelling prices, sometimes even free lighting upgrades! But how do you safely traverse the jungle of lighting suppliers without getting burnt with a low quality or even a dangerous product? In one technical lighting conference we heard that of almost 100 LED floodlights surveyed in Australia, more than a third were found to be non-compliant.
So, what does one do when there are so many seemingly good offers on the market and little guidance as to how to select the right LED lighting supplier? One of the answers is to take suppliers through a due diligence process and review their available test reports. Test reports are third party reports that are accredited by a peak body such as the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). There are several different types of reports which help build evidence of a high-quality LED light.
- Safety Certificate of Compliance
- LM-80 Test Report
- ISTMT Test Report
- LM-79 Test Report
- Photometric File (IES file)
Safety Certificate of Compliance
A safety certificate of compliance is the most fundamental document – it verifies that the product meets minimum safety standards. If a product does not have a safety certificate, then there is no way to know if it meets safety standards. Risks can become electrocution fire, property damage, injury, exposure to dangerous electromagnetic radiation and more. A safety certificate is issued by a 3rd party that is accredited to do so, it confirms that the product has passed testing according to Australian standards. Examples of safety certificate providers include: SAA, GMA, ESV, TUV and more. Click here to visit the ERAC website here for a list of all providers.
Figure 1: SAA Certificate for a littil LED NIMMO Floodlight
LM-80 Test Report
An LM-80 test report describes the lifetime of an LED chip by measuring how the light output of the LED chip degrades over time. A test lab can determine how long an LED chip will last by running the chip for over 6,000 hours (that’s 250 days 24/7!) and monitor its light output and colour temperature. Typical values are an “L70” lifetime of >36,000 hours. L70 represents the time taken for the LED chip to output 70% of its initial light output. The LM-80 test report is therefore the first point of contact when determining the likely lifetime of the LED chip, and therefore the entire luminaire. In most cases, an L70 >36,000 hours are more than sufficient. However, for some applications such as streetlighting, an L95 of >95,000 hours may be necessary.
Figure 2: LM-80 Test Report Summary
ISTMT Test Report
An ISTMT test report checks that the LED chips are operating within their recommended limitations. Specifically, the ISTMT test report measures LED chip current and temperature and compares the outcome to the LM80 test report to see if the LED chips are running correctly “In Situation”. ISTMT stands for “In Situation Temperature Method Testing”. The ISTMT test report therefore helps to identify that the luminaire has been designed well and that thermal management has been considered. This test report also verifies the current passing through each LED chip in the specific luminaire. This is important to compare to the LM80. If the LED chip current is higher than that of the LM80, the LED chip will be under stress and will not last the expected lifetime.
Figure 3: ISTMT Summary
LM-79 Test Report
The LM-79 Test report measures the performance of the light output. This includes:
- total lumen output
- beam angle
- CRI and
- overall lighting efficiency.
The LM-79 therefore is an important indication of the quality of light that comes out of the luminaire. It also provides the efficiency of light by providing the electrical measurements of the luminaire and lumens per watt. In the LM-79 test report, we can see the real lm/W and check if a manufacturer’s claim is indeed correct.
Figure 4: LM79 Report Summary
Photometric Test Report
The photometric test report or photometric file (also known as IES file) plugs into lighting software programs and simulates exactly how the luminaire distributes light. The IES report comes with IES files that can be used to construct extremely detailed simulations so that the end user can be certain that they will achieve their lighting outcomes before committing to the job. These photometric reports give us information about the distribution of lights in terms of beam angle, total lumen output, efficacy etc. We can also get unified glare ratings from these reports.
Figure 5: IES File Extract
That was a lot of information to take in! Thankfully, once understood it is easy to review any of the five test reports. Keep this article as a reference when reviewing new potential lighting suppliers and request all available reports to be certain that they have done their due diligence on the products being promoted.
We have test reports available for our entire range of LED lights. If you are concerned about the credibility of another LED product you have purchased, get in touch and our engineers can assist you.